4 attorneys general sue Google over user privacy, addressing trust crisis for your audience, and Unilever announces layoffs

Also: Planters returns to Super Bowl, Merrill Lynch fires advisor who was filmed verbally attacking teens, and more.

Hello, communicators:

Planters is no stranger to massive Super Bowl ads, famously announcing the death of its beloved mascot Mr. Peanut before the 2020 game only to unveil a commercial depicting the character’s funeral and subsequent birth of “Baby Nut.”

The brand’s latest campaign around the big game features comedians Ken Jeong and Joel McHale debating the right way to eat mixed nuts. Fans are encouraged to share on social how they prefer to consume mixed nuts—whether all at once like McHale or one at a time like Jeong—using the hashtag #PlantersAllorOne. Planters teased the game day spot with another ad:

“After a one-year hiatus from the Big Game, and since being welcomed into the Hormel Foods family, the PLANTERS® brand is excited to be back and debating a topic we’re nuts about,” Planters senior brand manager Jaynee Dykes said in a press release shared with PR Daily. “We had a lot of fun cracking open the debate with Ken and Joel and can’t wait for fans to see the final ad. No matter if you are team ‘All’ or team ‘One,’ how you eat your PLANTERS Deluxe Mixed Nuts is a delicious disagreement we can all agree on.”

Planters’ latest Super Bowl push is a fun example of how messaging around an event can be turned into a contest to capture the attention of overlapping audiences who are already willing to engage in the spirit of competition based on their fandom and love of sports.

Here are today’s top stories:

Google responds to attorneys general lawsuit over location data

Four attorneys general and three states filed a lawsuit against Google, alleging that the company misled customers into sharing location data through the design of Google account settings across its products. The suit alleges that those practices, referred to as “dark patterns” in the filing, include messages that certain apps will not function properly for users if location data is turned off.

The Washington Post reports:

“The Attorneys General are bringing a case based on inaccurate claims and outdated assertions about our settings,” Google spokesman José Castañeda said in a statement. “We have always built privacy features into our products and provided robust controls for location data. We will vigorously defend ourselves and set the record straight.”

Castañeda said the company has made multiple privacy improvements, including launching “auto-delete” controls to help people delete location data on a rolling basis and changing the default settings for new accounts so any activity older than 18 months is automatically deleted.

“Google’s misleading, ambiguous, and incomplete descriptions of these settings all but guarantee that consumers will not understand when their location is collected and retained by Google or for what purposes,” the D.C. lawsuit states. “And, in reality, regardless of the settings they select, consumers who use Google products have no option but to allow the Company to collect, store, and use their location.”

What it means:

The lawsuit represents the latest bipartisan efforts to hold tech companies accountable for their data privacy practices. Castañeda’s statement emphasizes the importance of documenting your organization’s actions in responding to criticism so you have a clear timeline to present when your work is questioned.

This incident is also a reminder that communicating your organization’s privacy policies clearly not only means providing stakeholders with options to control their own data, but including digital and design teams in your communications strategy to ensure that the user experience with your content, website and products lives up to the cybersecurity promises and commitments you make.


Edelman’s 2022 Trust Barometer found that 77% consider their employer be the the most trusted institution, while 61% trust businesses in general, 59% trust NGOs the most, 52% trust the government and only 50% trust the media ecosystem.

Edelman global executive director Tonia Ries told PR Daily’s Emma Atkinson that the lack of trust in government and media institutions points to a cycle of distrust that should be remedied by building trust locally.

“If we say, can we partner with government on a program—or NGOs—it doesn’t always have to be a big national thing,” Ries says. “Sometimes those local, community-based initiatives can be so much more powerful in building trust and building those bonds. So, think locally in order to build and amplify from there.”

Check out the full studyhere. 


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Survey takers will receive an executive summary of the findings.


Merrill Lynch reports it fired financial advisor James Ianazzo after a profanity-laden rant he unloaded on teenage workers at a Connecticut smoothie store was captured on TikTok. The clip later racked up over 2.6 million views after being posted on Twitter.

CNBC reports:

“Our company does not tolerate behavior of this kind,” said Merrill Lynch spokesman Bill Halldin.

“We immediately investigated and have taken action. This individual is no longer employed at our firm,” said Haldin, referring to the investment and wealth management division of Bank of America.

This incident emphasizes the need for organizations to be extra mindful of who represents the brand, especially in an age when the social footprint of an employee can quickly connect to their employer. Merrill Lynch’s statement also emphasizes how a brand can use negative attention as an opportunity to reinforce its values and policies.

Announcing the PR Daily Leadership Network

PR Daily is launching the PR Daily Leadership Network, a unique membership group from Ragan Communications offering peer-to-peer advisory and team training along with a unique slate of resources and events to help public relations professionals break through the noise, increase their visibility and forge meaningful connections.

The Network provides daily insights and coverage on a range of topics including media relations, social media, measurement, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, branding, thought leadership and crisis communications.

“The fast pace of change coupled with the demand on public relations professionals to protect and sometimes defend their company’s reputation make it imperative for leaders to tap into the wisdom of other communicators and continue to learn and grow,” says Diane Schwartz, CEO of Ragan Communications. “The PR Daily Leadership Network provides the answers but also encourages members to question the status quo and push for positive change.”

Visit leadership.prdaily.com to learn more.

Unilever announces 1,500 layoffs amid restructuring plans

Unilever said it will cut about 1,500 management jobs as part of a restructuring plan that will create five product-based divisions for the company focused on beauty and wellbeing, personal care, home care, nutrition and ice cream.

The announcement follows pressure from an activist investor group that recently acquired a stake in the company to jump start its growth.

According to its press release:

Alan Jope, CEO Unilever, explains, “Our new organisational model has been developed over the last year and is designed to continue the step-up we are seeing in the performance of our business. Moving to five category-focused Business Groups will enable us to be more responsive to consumer and channel trends, with crystal-clear accountability for delivery. Growth remains our top priority and these changes will underpin our pursuit of this.”

The proposed new organisation model will result in a reduction in senior management roles of around 15% and more junior management roles by 5%, equivalent to around 1,500 roles globally. Changes will be subject to consultation. We do not expect factory teams to be impacted by these changes.

Why it matters:

Jope’s statement addresses the needs of consumers and investors, but lacks an acknowledgment of the workforce and employees impacted by the cuts. As more companies grapple with vocal and influential activist investors, Unilever’s restructuring demonstrates the challenge in addressing the concerns of a specific stakeholder group while acknowledging other stakeholders.



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